Of werewolves, jungles and refugees: more-than-human figures along the Balkan Route

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Drawing from Giorgio Agamben’s conceptualisation of the werewolf as a more-than-human figure, this article investigates how this figure may help in analysing the ‘animalisation’ of the refugees banned to the forest along the so-called Balkan Route. After briefly discussing how the werewolf has historically been a recurrent motif in European folkloric accounts and popular narratives depicting the stranger and the abnormal, the article examines how the werewolf has been presented by Agamben as a key figure in his conceptualisation of the sovereign ban. The article then proposed a reading of the Balkan Route and its informal refugee mobilities focussed on their unruly spatialities, made of makeshift camps but also forests and bushes converted into temporarily inhabited ‘jungles’ by banned individuals-on-the-move. The final section illustrates the violence at the border by engaging with Rita Sakr’s analysis of two shorts stories written by Iraqi former refugee Hassan Blasim and based on a more-than-human refugee journey across the Balkan Route. The article concludes by suggesting that the figure of the werewolf-refugee may help in understanding the condition of refugees along the Balkan Route and the violence they are exposed to during their more-than-human journeys across this corner of Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jul 2021


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